It’s becoming increasingly harder to remain a day tripper with the sound of some music festivals in the distance. It’s also becoming harder to distinguish some of them from an uninhibited form of summer camp.
Meeting new people, loving the headliners, falling for new artists, camping out and just having a wild time are parts of the music-festival rush. With durations ranging from one day to 10 days this summer, the festival experience is only memorable if you’re doing it wrong.
Bonnaroo, the four-day festival held south of the Mason-Dixon Line, may be the grandest music festival of the summer, but it isn’t the only one. For those who aren’t enthusiastic about the long car ride and $200-plus ticket cost there are plenty of other options within a reasonable distance.
Jam on the River is the Philadelphia is the music event of the summer. It is a two-day festival during Memorial Day weekend on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. The lineup includes the likes of The Disco Biscuits, Common, STS9 (sound tribe sector nine), John Butler Trio, The Wailers, Dark Star Orchestra, Dr. Dog and The Breaks.
The 22nd annual jam band festival is known for its great music and upbeat atmosphere.
“In a live music scene, jam bands thrive on live performances,” said sophomore environmental studies major John Roderick. The show is centered on one stage, which gives it a more personal and relaxing feel. The convenient location makes it a huge perk. What better way to spend Memorial Day weekend than enjoying great music and lounging with friends? The price is right too – $70 for a full ticket, and $39.50 for one day.
“I’d definitely go again this year,” Roderick said. “Dr. Dog is playing and I’m really digging him. It would be worth my money.” This list would not be official without Bonnaroo on it. After all, it is the mecca of summer music festivals.
The legendary road trip down, holding your breath at the security check entrance and being a little fuzzy about everything else, Bonnaroo is the summer adventure. From June 14-17, Manchester, Tenn., is taken over by thousands of people, tents and RVs, and the stories are endless.
“I remember people sleeping everywhere. It was like a bunch of bodies and trash,” said freshman film and media arts major Dustin Maxwell, describing his post-Radiohead experience. Tickets range from $184.50 to $214.50, depending on when you purchase them online at Bonnarootickets.com. The star-studded lineup includes The Police, Widespread Panic, The White Stripes, Ben Harper and Regina Spektor, among others.
Rock the Bells, the highly anticipated hip-hop concert of the summer, is set to go down on Saturday, July 28 at Randall Island, N.Y. The exclusive festival tour will be performed on the East and West Coasts for three concert dates. A program focused on bringing local talent to its New York roots, including acts like Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill, The Roots and Immortal Technique have created a buzz that’s swarming throughout the five boroughs. Tickets have been on sale since March 31 for $83. Transportation is offered from Manhattan at $4 roundtrip. If you are a Rage Against the Machine fan and have been waiting for this reunion, it’s the only place to see them without heading to California.
Belting out a 10-day note, Musikfest will invade Bethlehem, Pa., from Aug. 3-12. The headliners list is an interesting and diverse bunch: Big & Rich, Ludacris, Moody Blues, Patti LaBelle, Deep Purple and Steppenwolf. While the diverse acts may raise eyebrows, not everybody thinks the eclectic program is ludicrous.
“They are trying to cater to a younger audience, because it was and still has a huge country music scene,” said sophomore film major Alisa Scharf about Ludacris’ appearance. Of the 13 indoor and outdoor stages set for upward of 300 performers, nine of the stages are free. During the day it is a family event with folk music performances and other family-friendly attractions.
But the night scene is a little different. Full of college and high school students, it is like a week of Spring Fling, Scharf said. Tickets for headliners are sold individually at prices ranging from $20 to $40 at Tix.com. One hour and 15 minutes away from Philadelphia, Musikfest should satisfy your achy- breaky-heart-and-soul craving.
While the recently announced Virgin Festival may be preparing for its sophomore showing in the United States, it features such oldheads as The Police, Beastie Boys and the revamped Smashing Pumpkins. Leave it to Virgin founder and chairman Richard
Branson to have headliners who have been in hibernation for years. Located about a two-hour car trip away at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, its success has swelled the concert’s length to two days from Aug. 4 to Aug. 5.
Most festivals tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com. Remember to check the Web site occasionally for updates on the lineup and other information. Usually artists are added at the last minute, and special appearances make it more exciting. Start tapping your toes now.
Laura Yacoe can be reached at email@example.com.